Promote Rotary through signature activities
The Rotary clubs of Churchland-Portsmouth and Portsmouth, Virginia, USA, hold a barbecue networking event each year as their signature event. Photo courtesy of Bill Pollard
The Rotary clubs of Churchland-Portsmouth and Portsmouth, Virginia, USA, hold a barbecue networking event every year, full of food, refreshments, and live entertainment.
According to Bill Pollard, a member of the Churchland-Portsmouth club, thousands of people attend the event, with each club netting about US$10,000 to support local projects and programs.
The Rotary Club of Calcutta Uptown, West Bengal, India, is best known for helping provide eye care, computer centers for youth, and improved sanitation in rural areas of the Bengal region.
Many Rotary clubs are known in their communities for one big project or event that sets them apart from other groups. Whether it's an annual dinner that raises funds for polio eradication, or a park clean-up, your club's signature project or fundraiser can help promote Rotary's public image as an action-oriented service organization.
"Several small projects leave no mark, but one larger project leaves a signature," notes RI Vice President Thomas M. Thorfinnson. "A great way to promote Rotary's image is to have a significant project or a significant fundraiser that is a very public event in your community and to do that event or fundraiser consistently over the years."
The Rotary Club of Kenosha West, Wisconsin, USA, holds an annual sports tournament to raise money for the club's charities. This highly anticipated event involves youth from the entire community. The club promotes the tournament prominently on its website and includes videos from previous years. The club's online membership directory, which includes photos, shows many members in their tournament uniforms.
Here are a few tips on how to create a signature activity. Also check out what other Rotarians have had to say on the topic in Your Voice, Your Solution.
Identify. Decide on a public event and its purpose, such as to raise funds for The Rotary Foundation or to involve members of the community in a local service project.
Publicize. Include your Rotary club or district in the name of the event, following the RI guidelines for using the Rotary Marks. Use social media and press releases to publicize your event and the work of Rotary and build interest and excitement.
Connect. Assign club members to help answer questions about the Rotary club and its projects during the event to form connections with the general public. Distribute take-away information such as What's Rotary? as well as pamphlets or business cards linking to your club's website.
Repeat. Hold the event annually to build recognition. As awareness grows, more community members will participate and the event will become increasingly successful. You may even attract new members to your club.